"The hunt club has been a good steward of the land," Howell said. "This tract is a prime example of a varied habitat that will support all kinds of creatures way into the future."
The Potomac River headwaters area, which includes the Cacapon River Valley, is one of four top climate-resilient landscapes to be found in a 13-state section of the east, according to an analysis of data from a Nature Conservancy study of the region by the OSI. The other most resilient areas identified by the OSI are the forests of southern New Hampshire and Maine, the mid-Connecticut River region of Massachusetts and Vermont, and the highlands of Kittatinny Ridge in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
"It's new for us to be working in West Virginia, and we hope to do more there," Howell said. "We're very pleased to be working with Nancy Ailes and the people at Cacapon and Lost Rivers Land Trust."
About 20 percent of the land in the Potomac River Headwaters area is already preserved and protected by being part of the Monongahela or George Washington National Forests or being included in a West Virginia state park or wildlife management area.
Founded in 1974, the OSI has protected more than 116,000 acres in New York, and has assisted in the protection of an additional 2.2 million acres from Quebec to Georgia.
Since it was created in 1995, the Cacapon and Lost Rivers Land Trust has helped protect 13,000 acres.
Reach Rick Steelhammer at rsteelham...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5169.